Picking up where yesterday’s massive football news and notes article ended, Phil Steele provides more insights that you almost certainly missed during the opening week of college football.
Arizona jumped to a 14-0 lead vs NA but NA led by Cary Grossart hit 16-17-145 in the 1H drove 64/13pl for a 28 yd FG and 91/9pl for a TD to pull within 14-10 at the half. AU got an int on the 5th play of the 3Q at the NA18 and a TD on the next play. After punting on their next poss, AU went 85/5pl, 59/5pl and 63/10pl for TD’s to put it away and lead 41-10 with 9:26 left. NA went 75/10pl and was SOD at the 5.
Ohio rolled up a 452-368 yd edge vs New Mexico St. They led 23-7 at the half and went 68/3pl and 81/14pl on their first two 3Q poss to lead 37-10, then got a 65 yd PR TD to lead 44-10 with 3:33 left in the 3Q. NMSt got a 97 yd KR TD and a 54 yd TD pass early 4Q to pull within 20 but were SOD at the OU32 and 18 on their final 2 poss.
Northern Illinois was not as impressive as the 35-6 1H score would indicate as after an int and fmbl they drove 53 and 11 yards for TD’s to lead 28-6. They did go 82 yards for a TD with 7:29 left in the 2Q to make it 35-6 and Army went on a 14pl drive but fmbl’d at the NI5. NI led 35-6 but only had a 279-160 yd edge. NI was int’d on their first 3Q poss and went 62/4pl and 97/17pl for TD’s and led 49-6 after 3Q’s when they pulled their starters. Army went 49/4pl, 66/12pl and 83/14pl for TD’s the latter with :12 left.
In a game played in some heavy rain Southern Miss had a 21-13 FD edge and 379-244 yd edge but SM muffed and lost a punt at its own 3, gave up an 85 yd KR TD and had a FG blk’d and SM needed a 49 yd FG with 2:32 left to pull out the 19-17 win.
It appears Stephen Garcia made a dramatic impact on South Carolina as they put up 56 points in his 3Q’s of work. SC started Conner Shaw and he played the 1Q and on his drives they fumbled at the EC15, punted, fmbl’d at their own 43 and punted. EC would lead 24-14 at the half. SC put up 28 pts in the 3Q but the first came after a fumble by EC as SC used 4 plays to go 35 yards. After another fumble by EC, SC went 2pl for a TD. SC got a FR TD and later a 31 yd 5pl drive after an int. SC then added a 68 yd PR TD. On 5 of their TD drives, they totaled 75 yards offense. That PR actually got SC leading by over 3 TD’s for the first time, 56-31 but EC went 72/19pl converting on 4&7 and later on 4&2 for a 4 yd TD pass with 2:42 left.
There was a lot of points in the LSU/Oregon game but most of them came on a short field and it was actually a defensive struggle with UO only having a 335-273 yd edge. At the half UO had a 167-100 yard lead but trailed 16-13 and true frosh D’Anthony Thomas was in the game because UO’s top 2 RB’s (James and Barner) were both out and he fumbled on 2 consecutive poss, both setting up LSU TD’s.
Texas Tech had an easy go of it with Texas St but St actually jumped out to a 10-0 lead going 45/11pl and 41/9pl for a TD and FG. At the half St led 10-9 and had a 149-139 yd edge and in the 3Q went 64/8pl but fumbled at the TT16. TT went 83/12pl for a TD and took advantage of 3 more TO’s getting TD drives of 36, 23 and 27 yards, the latter 2 in the final 6:00 to turn it into a 50-10 “rout”.
San Diego St played a fine game vs Cal Poly. They went for it on 4th & gl at the 3 and then a TD to go up 21-7 and led 28-14 at the half with a 335-179 yd edge. CP fumbled a punt in the 4Q at their own 36 and SDSt got a TD to lead 42-14 and SDSt’s final score came 2:15 later on a 94 yd KR TD. SDSt had a 492-284 yd edge.
Oklahoma entered preseason #1 for the first time since 2003. Walk-on Dominique Whaley won the RB job and rushed for 131 yards and 4 TD’s as OU won its 37th straight at home (the nation’s longest streak). The Sooners piled up 34 FD’s and 663 yards. They led 30-0 in the 2Q and at the end of the half, had a 1st & 5 at the 9 but after an 8 yd game, fumbled at the 1 or would have scored again. OU put it away with 1:52 left in the game leading 47-7 and this time only allowed 1 garbage TD as Tulsa drove 70/5pl for a TD with 8:29 left. OU finished at the TU45.
Stony Brook almost pulled off the outright upset. In fact, they were dominant in the 1H. SB had a 16-2 FD edge and 299-70 yd edge at UTEP but had 2 long drives inside the 10 come up with just 3 points. They went 86/14pl and settled for and missed a 27 yd FG then went 60/6pl and had a 2nd & gl at the 1 but settled for a FG. SB did get a 14 yd FR TD with 3:00 left 3Q and led 24-10 but UTEP took over and dominated the game from there. UTEP went 48/3pl for a TD, 65/9pl but on 4th & gl from the 2 were int’d in the EZ. They went 72/8pl but on 2&2 from the 20, got a completion to the 1 but fmbl’d into the EZ for a TB with 7:20 left. UTEP went 53/6pl for a 21 yd TD pass to tie and even missed a 61 yd FG on the final play of regulation that K Warren had enough leg but was off to the left. UTEP scored a 25 yd TD pass on it’s only play in OT and SB’s only play in OT was an int at the 4 and UTEP escaped.
Kansas St did need a 37 yd TD pass with 1:39 let to get past E Kentucky, 10-7 but overcame 5 TO’s and a blocked punt. For the game KSU had a 21-7 FD edge and 303-129 yd edge. KSU was also SOD at the EK23 at the end of a 7 play drive and missed a 37 yd FG. UK’s only TD came on a 1 yd “drive” following a FR to the 1 which gave them a 7-0 lead with 4:12 left 3Q. KSU’s winning drive was 86/11pl and on 2&5 they got a 33 yd TD pass with 1:39 left.
Two big plays kick-started Tennessee in their rout of Montana. They went 3 & out to open but MT fmbl’d the PR on their own 47 and UT got a 47 yd TD pass on the next play. MT got 2 FD’s and punted and UT on 3&7 got an 81 yd TD pass to lead 14-0. It was 28-7 at the half with an 11-4 FD and 235-116 yd edge with MT also getting an 80 yd TD pass when down 28-0. At the end of the 3Q UT went on a 14pl drive and MT a 10 pl drive but each were SOD. UT drove 44 yards for a TD after a fmbl to lead 42-9 with 9:10 left and MT went 82/9pl for a 7 yd TD run with 6:04 left to close the scoring.
A very interesting stat to me is that Bryant Moniz threw for just 178 yards vs Colorado. Moniz rushed for 121 yards (career high). Last year Hawaii was on their 2nd straight game to the mainland and led 10-0 at half but wore down. That was on their minds this year. Their two 1H TD’s came on a 57/1pl TD run by Moniz at the start of the 2Q and then taking over with 2:14 left in the half they went 87/7pl and got a Moniz 14 yd TD run with :24 left in the half to lead 17-0. CU did have seven 1H FD’s but punted on all 5 drives. CU pulled within 24-17 with 4:51 left and UH punted on their next drive but UH forced a punt then drove 45/8pl for a TD to get some breathing room with 6:17 left. CU was int’d on 4th& 6 from its own 29 and ret’d to the 1 setting up a UH FG and was sk’d for a 5 yd loss on 4&12 at its own 27 with 3:07 left.
Steele Jantz’s first 5 poss as the starting QB for Iowa St ended in two 3 & outs, a fmbl and 2 int. NI got a 42 yd FG on their first poss. ISU was int’d at the NI6 and int’d in the EZ on 3&7 at the 9. NI went on an 80/18pl dive but settled for a 24 yd FG and led 6-0. ISU fmbl’d at the NI25 but took over with 3:23 left in the half and got a 1 yd TD run with :03 left in the half to lead 7-6. At the half they had a 172-167 yd edge. NI went 90/22pl for a TD to open the 3Q. The drive took up nearly 10:00 and the TD made it 13-7 with 2:30 left. ISU was int’d and the team’s punted 5 times. ISU went 61/7pl and on 4&10 got a 26 yd TD to take the lead, 14-13. The lead lasted :18 which was the time it took for a KO and an 80 yd TD pass to Johnson and NI was back on top 19-14 with 4:12 left (2ptng). ISU went 60/9pl. The drive finished with a 3&11, 17 yd Jantz run with :34 left. The 2 pt failed but NI fumbled and ISU took a knee. NI had a 385-325 yd edge.
Showing the advantage of situations, Boise had an A++ game with basically their most important game of the entire season vs Georgia. It was far from a neutral site as they played in Atlanta. UGA on the other hand had their most important game of the year vs South Carolina on deck, that is a game which will determine if they get to the SEC Title Game. UGA played well early, in fact, Boise had just 1 FD on the first 3 poss and UGA got an 80 yd TD run by Boykin to lead 7-0. Boise went 58/6pl for a TD and UGA was SOD on 4&1 at the BSU26. After an int with 4:17 left in the half, BSU drove 51/7pl getting a 12 yd TD pass with :48 left to take the lead into the lockerroom, 14-7. Boise scored TD’s on 2 of their first 3 3Q poss while UGA missed a 54 yd FG to make it 28-7. The next 3 poss were all TD’s to make it 35-21. UGA’s last 2 attempts ended on a 4th & 2 SOD at the BS39 and a 4th & 12 sack at their own 3 while BSU had a 24-13 FD edge, the yards were just 390-273.
Duke had a 22-13 FD edge and 379-288 yd edge vs Richmond. In the 1H Richmond recovered a fumble at the 8 setting up a TD and another fumble rec’d at the Duke 26 set up a 29 yd FG so their 10 points came on drives totaling 22 yards. Duke had a couple of questionable mistakes as they were SOD on 4&1 at their own 35 in the 1Q and at the end of the half, spiked the ball with :04 left at the Richmond 19. Instead of a 36 yd FG, they opted to go for it and gained 9 yards but ran out of time at the 10 yard line. Richmond got a TD with 10:12 left but missed the xp and led 23-21 and Duke was poised to retake the lead as they got an 18 yd PR to the RU24 with 4:12 left. Duke settled for a 28 yd FG and missed it with 1:43 left. They did force another punt but only got to the RU41 and their 60 yd FG on the final play came up short.
One note that I personally have from watching the games this weekend is to quit going to the weird Nike uniforms. As a college purist watching Boise and UGA I almost turned the set off numerous times with 2 teams that looked like they were playing in Star Wars costumes. It would have been much better to see the normal UGA helmets and normal BSU helmets. During magazine time when schools send me photos with these tricked out helmets that look nothing like the normal helmets, I opt not to use them in my magazine as I don’t like watching college ball games played with the weird uniforms. I wish they stick with the traditional look.
Yes, Notre Dame trailed the entire game and lost to USF but before you throw their season into the toilet please keep in mind the Irish had a 508-254 yd edge and just had some pretty bad plays in the redzone which cost them the win. Not many teams can survive a 14 pt swing and the Irish suffered one on their opening drive. They quickly went 76/8pl and on 3&gl from the 1, not only fmbl’d but it was picked up and ret’d 96 yds for a TD. Instead of the Irish leading 7-0 they trailed 7-0 (14 pt swing). During the game ND had a dropped TD pass on 2nd & goal from the 7 and on the next play were int’d in the EZ. At the half the Irish had a 191-144 yd edge and trailed 16-0. In the 3Q the Irish got to the USF5 with backup QB Rees in but he was int’d on a pass that bounced off WR Jones’ helmet as he was not looking. ND went on a 54/6pl drive and missed a 30 yd FG. For the game ND had a 504-254 yd edge but the 5-0 TO deficit saw them come up 3 points short.
Tough loss for Weber St vs Wyoming as WSU had 27-20 FD and 541-463 yd edges but gave up a late 4&11, 19 yd pass which set up WY’s game winning TD with :22 left and WSU also missed a 53 yd FG that was short on the last play. In the 1H WSU had a 16-8 FD edge but settled for a 40 yd FG and had a snap go over the P’s head for a 37 yd loss (if you take away that bad snap, they had a 291-227 yd edge). That set up a 9/1pl TD pass for WY and it was 21-19 at the half. WY extended it to 28-19 but WSU went 80/6pl for a TD. WSU was SOD on 4&1 at the WY40 but 2 poss later, WSU got an 80/4pl drive with a 49 yd TD pass putting them up 32-28 with 12:18 left. WY went 58/11pl but on 4&2 gained 1 yd to the WSU10 with 7:52 left and things looked gloomy when they were forced to punt on 4&15 at their own 20 with 3:40 left. WSU took over at the 46 but a sk and a false start forced them to punt on 4&15 with 2:12 to go. WY27 would go 73 yds in 13 plays and on 4&11 a 19 yd pass got them down to the 9 and they got the game winning TD 2pl later. WSU got 2 FD’s but a 53 yd FG was short on the last play.
Eastern Michigan did dominate Howard with a 441-201 yd edge in a game. Howard opened with a 29 yd IR TD to lead 6-0 (2ptng). They led 9-3 after 1Q but EM dominated the 2Q getting a 50 yd KR which set up a 31 yd FG, a 16 yd PR set up a 21 yd TD drive and they took the lead 13-9. EM was SOD on 4&4 at the Howard36 but then drove 78/6pl for a TD with 1:31 left in the half. Special teams helped again when Howard fumbled the KO at their 32 and EM got a TD 4pl later to lead 27-9. RB Sherrer got a 27 yd TD run on the 2nd play of the 3Q to make it 34-9, it was the 2nd longest run by an EM player in Rynearson Stadium. Howard missed a 38 yd FG with 2:07 left in the 3Q and EM missed a 37 yd FG with 11:25 left. EM took over at their own 12 with 8:53 left. On 3&21 pass interference gave them a FD to the 9. The drive also included a 4&1 conversion to the HU24 and a 9 yd TD pass with 3:16 left made the final 41-9 making some EM fans very happy. Howard got 2 FD’s to the 45 at the end.
In the Sunday night game on FOXSportsnet, SMU pulled QB Padron after 2 series which both ended on int’s. A&M took advantage of both with 6 and 45 yd drives for TD’s to lead 14-0. JJ McDermott came off the bench and QB’d the rest of the game hitting 21-34-254. He guided 60/7pl and 71/7pl drives for TD’s. After the first TD, SMU onside kicked but only went 1 yd and A&M went 31/5pl for their 3rd TD drive of 31 yds or less and led 20-7. At 20-14 A&M went 87/10pl for a TD with 5:44 left in the half and then went 52/6pl for another TD to lead 33-14. Margus Hunt set an SMU record with his 12th blk’d kick as he blk’d 2 xp’s in the 1H. A&M only had a 235-210 yd edge at half but led by 19. SMU’s only scoring threats in the 2H came on a 4th & 8 incompletion at the A&M 36 and a 4th & 5 incompletion at the A&M45 as McDermott failed to guide a scoring drive on his last 7 series. A&M led 43-14 after 3Q’s.
Elon actually had a 219-156 yd edge vs Vandy at the half but trailed 21-7. A couple of interesting notes pulled from the game is that VU went for it on 4th Down quite often and in this game was successful. A 4&5 conversion on their 2nd drive led to a 67/9pl drive for a TD, a 4th & 3, 16 yd run by Smith got them their 2nd TD. VU also converted on 4th & 1 in the 3Q, which set up a 33 yd FG. VU’s D contributed to their high point total. The VU D got a 21 yd IR TD with 8:06 left in the 2Q and Elon also missed a 27 yd FG after a 61 yd drive. A 9 yd punt set up VU for a 37 yd TD “drive” and then a 22 yd IR set up a 23/1pl drive. VU’s last TD came after a 13 yd punt when they went 46/4pl for a TD by backup QB Jordan Rodgers (Aaron’s brother).
Kansas only had a 447-420 yd edge. True frosh RB Tony Pierson went 47 yards on his first carry to set up a TD and 13 yards for a TD the 2nd time he touched the ball. He finished with 73 yards on 5 carries. McNeese QB Cody Stroud hit 22-27-210 alternating with Riley Dodge (NT transfer) who hit 9-14-107. Dodge hit a 4&4, 32 yd pass in the 3Q.
There were 2 games called for weather this weekend. West Virginia/Marshall kicked off in the afternoon and ended late at night with empty stands and both teams in the lockerroom. Marshall played well up front on the D-lien stuffing WV’s rush game and holding them to 42/26 carries. MU also had 2 trips inside the 10 yard line result in a pair of FG’s or it could have been closer. Each had a return TD with MU getting an 87 yd PR TD by Booker to take a 7-0 lead. WV’s 3rd scoring drive that put them up 17-7. It went to a delay at 27-13 with 4:59 in the 3Q and the 2nd delay a 34-13 with 14:36 left in the game that was actually the final as they opted not to return.
Phil Steele is the editor and publisher of the annual Phil Steele’s College Football Preview. Make sure to visit his website PhilSteele.com. You can also interact with Phil when you “Like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter (@philsteele042).